A Note from Mary Margaret West: There’s no doubt that engaging with missions is life-changing for students. No matter where you and the girls you lead are, you can be a part of the work God is doing around the world. Megan’s post today gives us some great ideas that you can put into practice today.
I grew up in the church, but I didn’t really grasp our Father’s heart for the gospel to be proclaimed among the nations until I went to college. God used my campus ministry leaders to instill in me a love for missions, and He eventually led me to serve in Southeast Asia for three years. I’m so thankful for God’s kindness in shaping my heart toward His, but how I wish that I had been taught about missions earlier in my life.
In whatever sphere you minister to teens, I urge you to be intentional to lead them in understanding and cultivating a heart for missions. Their eyes will be pointed upward and outward as they focus on living for God’s purposes. Connecting to missions will enlarge their vision of God, the Kingdom, and the Body of Christ. Your girls’ lives could be greatly impacted as they consider possible ways they desire to be involved in the work of missions in the future.
How can you help connect students to the work of proclaiming the gospel and making disciples among the nations?
- Teach your teens about God’s missional purposes as seen throughout Scripture. God has always had the nations in view, and plans to use His people as representatives who testify about His glorious grace.
- Together, study the history of missions and the stories of well-known missionaries from the past. The reality of how God has been at work around the world, calling people to Himself and making His name known, strengthens our own faith and motivation.
- Connect students with individuals and families that are currently serving overseas. Spend time learning about the people group they are living among, the challenges they face, and their specific needs. Engage with these overseas workers by praying, encouraging, and serving them in practical ways.
- Lead your girls in praying for specific people groups around the world.
- Encourage students to consider how they can, even now, begin to give financially toward the work of missions.
- Teach and model what it looks like to share the gospel and serve here at home.
- If your students are interested in getting some hands-on experience serving in an overseas context, connect them with the most fitting opportunities. It’s best that short-term trips be done in concert with long-term workers, and focused on what is most effective and helpful to the work that’s already going on there.
As you set out on the journey of introducing students to the work of missions, I pray that God will shape their hearts and yours.
International Mission Board (information, stories, prayer guides, trip opportunities, giving)
Access International (international mission trips for students and leaders)
World Changers (national mission trips for students and leaders)
Operation World (prayer guides and people group information)
Joshua Project (prayer resources and people group information)
Nehemiah Teams (summer missions opportunities for high school graduates)
The Traveling Team (resources on the history of missions, biblical foundation, and missionary stories)
Megan Burns is a biblical counselor in Virginia with experience counseling students and parents in the local church. She is married to Brian and enjoys writing about counseling, discipleship and missions on her blog, Remade Whole.